So apparently ID questions are going to be banned on this site.

Some of the ID questions posted here are about films in the science fiction or fantasy genres, which would be on-topic at the sister site, SFF. SFF has far less stringent requirements for ID questions than M&TV users will be used to: basically, it only expects them to be (uniquely) answerable. Thus, many of these questions would be not only on-topic but welcomed with open arms over at SFF.

Since these questions are now going to be off-topic here, it makes sense to send as many as possible to a site where they would be on-topic and good quality. That way, the OP might get their question welcomed and answered instead of just having it closed and deleted.

The only possible downsides are (from M&TV's point of view) that this site's mods and users might not know which questions SFF would welcome, and (from SFF's point of view) that questions which are unambiguously bad shouldn't be migrated. To solve both of these issues, I suggest the following.

When an ID question is flagged for migration to SFF, by a user who's active on SFF and knows its scope, migrate it over there.

This ensures that no bad questions are migrated ('bad' by the target site's standards, which is what counts in this context), but also removes the onus of judging quality from M&TV mods/users. It does mean the workload of migration has to be entirely on diamond mods - the alternative being to set up a migration path which any five 3k+ rep users could use - but the volume should be manageable enough as people stop posting ID questions here, barring a possible sudden flood just at the start.

Of course, if the M&TV mods (all of whom have a good amount of activity on SFF and/or its meta) want to be proactive and migrate even unflagged questions which would clearly be on-topic at SFF, nobody will say no to that! But let's start off with a basic proposal which is very hard to argue against.

Are there any downsides to this proposal? At the moment, I can't see any. If M&TV doesn't want these questions here, there should be no objection to giving them to people who do?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


Flags are a bad fit for this. They're expedient if you only expect to migrate maybe a half-dozen questions, ever, but if you expect to migrate "as many as possible" of the 4K+ ID questions here it puts entirely too much responsibility on entirely too few people: the flaggers from SFF and the mod team here.

Such a campaign stands to affect a lot more people than you & Napoleon ;-)

So let's keep it simple: don't flag for migration to SFF here, ever.

For the purpose of this effort, we have a much better, cleaner, more open process already defined, albeit for a slightly different scenario:

  1. Start on your meta. Build a list of questions that you think would benefit from being migrated to your site and collect some reasons along with each one. Don't just say "all questions in our tags!". That's neither going to happen nor is a good approach - do you really want to swarm your new community with old content?

    This is also your opportunity to edit old questions to make them more in line with your scope and standards.

    Once you have your list...

  2. The questions will be vetted by the source community as well. The exact details here are still to be worked out, but the idea is that we would present these questions to the relevant subcommunities of the original site. For example, questions that are candidates for migration to Mathematica would be vetted by the regulars of on Stack Overflow.

    Some form of discussion will ensue and by the end of it we will have the final list of questions to move over.

  3. We will do a one-time mass migration of the questions that make the cut. This has some additional implications. For example, your front page on the smaller site will be more or less destroyed for a bit, so make each question count.

Once this migration happens, the topic is closed. There will be no more discussions, migrations, exceptions, etc. where old questions are concerned. You're free to still edit and migrate new questions if needed.

We've used or or less the same in the past when closing entire sites (such as Literature) and it has worked pretty well; critically, it makes both the initial vetting and the bulk of the leg-work the responsibility of the destination site, which is good because the folks here have enough on their plates already. If and only if the folks on SFF decide they want a given set of questions, the folks here can make quick work of reviewing them to ensure nothing that would be kept will be moved; at that point, the Stack Exchange Team can mass-migrate the entire set, deleting them here in the process, and we can be done with this forever.

One final note on flagging: there's a good chance that folks will still try to ask ID questions here for a good long while, and it's entirely possible that you or someone else on SFF may see one or more than you think would be good additions to the site. Don't flag them for migration! Instead, post a comment noting that such questions are disallowed here but the author would be welcome to re-ask their question on Science Fiction & Fantasy. If they opt to do so, you have a new, somewhat-engaged member of your site! If they don't, you likely wouldn't have ever seen confirmation of anyone's guess anyway, and thus have saved everyone on SFF a headache. Best of all, you've no need to wait around on moderators to handle flags, or close voters to vote to close: the author can likely re-ask the question 40 minutes after first asking it, and everyone can go on about their business.

See also:

  • 2
    Comments purged; please don't make me regret suggesting this approach. It doesn't matter how much you personally love ID questions, unless you're volunteering to personal migrate, retag, edit, answer and forever maintain hundreds of them then you're not defending anything - you're volunteering the time of other people who've already invested gobs of it and aren't willing to invest any more. We've successfully done these mass migrations on probably a half dozen sites, including sites with no active users whatsoever - that's why I like it, and that's why you should too.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 5:06

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